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Feeling Clean or Being Clean

In his book Start with Why, Simon Sinek discusses the importance of motivation in a very interesting section titled “It’s What You Can’t See That Matters.”

Detergent advertisers once promoted their product with statements like “Gets your whites whiter and your brights brighter.” That’s what the market research revealed customers wanted. But was it really? Sinek explains:

The data was true, but the truth of what people wanted was different. The makers of laundry detergent asked consumers WHAT they wanted from detergent, and consumers said whiter whites and brighter brights…. So brands attempted to differentiate HOW they got your whites whiter and brights brighter by trying to convince consumers that one additive was more effective than another. No one asked customers WHY they wanted their clothes clean.

Later a group of anthropologists discovered that this approach wasn’t really driving buying decisions. They observed that when people took their laundry out of the dryer, no one held it up to the light to see how white and bright it was. The first thing people did was to smell it. Sinek concludes, “This was an amazing discovery. Feeling clean was more important to people than being clean.”

Possible Preaching Angle: This same attitude extends out of the laundry room deep into the recesses of our hearts. We are much more interested in the illusion of clean than the reality of clean.

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